The Peace Economics theory requires a whole new way of looking at national defense and national security. The huge finding that military spending is essentially a non-productive loss of key resources normally used to increase the size of the economic growth rate means that excessive military spending can prevent a nation from keeping up vital economic strength. Economic strength is more important to national defense and national security than military strength in the long run. But what does that mean? There are two key approaches.
Two Time Frames
When offense exceeds defense, as in nuclear war, quick reaction is urgent. But because of mutually assured destruction, avoidance is the only way to really survive. Short term military strength is necessary up to a point. In more conventional warfare, quick success is unlikely unless one side is more than twice as strong as the other side. There are four clear cases of the “twice as strong” economically being decisive in the World Wars. When both sides are more equal stalemate is likely until and unless one mobilizes overwhelming forces against the other. Then the initial military forces are not as crucial as the economic strength comparison.
How Often Wars Happen
United States, European, and Roman history is a good argument for the 54 year cycle in major war history. There are many wars all the time, but matchups between the top two economies in an area tend to peak every 54 years. These are the wars a national defense best needs to be prepared for, hence a long term “build the economy” strategy best prepares a nation for this point in time, with a smaller well trained military core kept going between major war events, In this 54 year cycle, tester lopsided wars tend to happen about 18 years before the major war in America, and 15 years before the major war in Europe.
Size of Military
The larger the military, the more likely it will be used. A large military will coopt large portions of the military political economy. Justifications for a large military will be developed to of the maintain this large size. War is the ultimate justification and wars will go on and on out of fear of losing, and continued funding for a war is often justified out of support for the troops.
Success in Prior Wars
Low cost paid and success in prior wars encourages a forward leaning posture in foreign affairs. For example, the lower the percentage of a major nation’s population dying in the last major war made America most aggressive in the early Cold War followed by Britain and then France. For example, a bad experience in the thirty years war ending in 1648 lead to Swedish neutrality ever since. Switzerland.s last war in 1815 was in the Napoleonic Era of mass draftee armies. The invention of the military draft lead to Europe missing a major war in the 1860s until World War One in 1914. Joshua Goldstein’s 1986 study of European wars since 1500 shows a 50 year cycle of major wars with about 1.5% population loss. After missing that 1860s war, war came back worse than ever with a 5% population loss in each World War.
Role of the CIA Covert Operations
Critics of America’s Covert Operations cite a long history of mistakes and policies favoring commercial interests over democratic interests. Blowback, the tendency of such operations to boomerang on America, is perhaps best indicated by Iran. Covert operations seem to represent over-the-top efforts that wittingly or unwittingly help perpetuate the war system. Previous mistakes often lead to future excuses for wars.
Consequences of the War System
Social decay, crime, and especially murders are all consequences of militarism and the war system, the empire system. Findings show that murder rates follow military spending rates among the larger developed nations. The million murders in America in the thirty years after John Lennon’s death 12-8-80 could have been cut in half if military spending had been cut in half. That would have saved 500,000 lives. Indeed, something like that did happen halfway through that thirty year period, as murder rates were cut in half one decade after the Cold War ended in 1991, and US military economy rates were cut in half by the year 2000.
Defining National Security
Keeping a narrow definition of national security defined around results wars, leaves out the large number of lives that can be saved by avoiding 15,000 domestic US murders, consequences of lack of health care (35,000 deaths) and consequences of income inequality and poverty. Excessive militarism increases murders, health care deaths, and inequality deaths vastly in excess of the 10,000 US soldiers and civilians lost in the war on terror the last 20 years. Stifling the American dream of income increases for middle class Americans since the seventies is the deepest consequence of the de-industrialization caused by empire in American history.
For a detailed model of optimal military spending levels for a major power:
Please cite this work as follows:
Reuschlein, Robert. (2018, April 2), “Reduce Military War System”, Madison, WI: Real Economy Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.expertclick.com/NewsRelease/Reduce-Military-War-System,2018155833.aspx
Dr. Peace, Professor Robert Reuschlein, Real Economy Institute
Nominated Vetted 2016, Given Odds 2017 Nobel Peace Prize